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Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

As I write this at a public computer in Santa Cruz, where Ayn Rand is not in fashion at the moment, celebration continues in Washington D.C. One of the speakers at the Ayn Rand Centennial Conference Program was Robert Poole, who helped ensure the privatization of Caltrans. His presentation is concluding as I type this at noon PST.
Both beloved and hated, Ayn Rand has turned 100 today. Best understood as an embodiment of paradox, she still deserves to be read: and not just by the right-libertarians who adore her.

The paradox of social justice and individual freedom is too often ignored by political activists of all stripes. Can we have both? That requires a good bit of working out, and intellectual maturity: intellectual maturity as individuals and as a collective. Rand's writing attained popularity before it attained maturity. Therefore, she sold far more books than Immanuel Kant did. One of his best, a textbook on logic actually useful in the classroom didn't even get translated from German until 5 years ago. He had no sense of market, and was especially unwilling to express his unresolved human passions. Rand, on the contrary has sold over 15 million books. Her most popular works celebrate lone heroes whose transcendent vision is ignored and undermined by an unappreciative society of the mediocre. Amazing that her favorite author was Victor Hugo! Christian Michel expounds on the Libertarian website:
Rand herself ranks Victor Hugo as her favourite novelist, yet Victor Hugo was "irrational" by Randian atheistic and rationalist criteria; Hugo was a believer in God, a believer in the occult, he "channeled" messages from the dead, and, worst of all, he was a social democrat.

Likewise Rand mentions Edmond Rostand’s Chantecler as her favourite play. This drama is not in a league with Euripides’s and Shakespeare’s, it is not even a great work of art, but still, as Rand does, I like it. I enjoy Rostand’s sense of life, and I am more moved by Cyrano de Bergerac, L’Aiglon or Chantecler, than by other greater masterpieces, but in which I do not find the values which are mine. Only snobs praise art that does not move them.
Really? What could be more dismal than the aesthetics of Tolstoy? This woman is cut from the same cloth. Financially sound advice indeed, but this is the kind of thinking that got Sergei Prokoffiev pushed down a flight of stairs for betraying the "Music of the People" with his decadent (read: forward looking, original, uncompromising) creations.

In spite of her insistance on the importance of will, her personal history and evolution can, in my opinion, be well understood as an unwilling expression of a turbulent and conflicted era. She was born on the cusp of the "petty" revolution in Russia of 1905 that petered out in devisiveness. Although the stage was being set for the playing out of Marxist theory:
Far from desiring to transform the whole of society for the revolutionary proletarians, the democratic petty bourgeois strive for a change in social conditions by means of which the existing society will be made as tolerable and comfortable as possible for them..

While the democratic petty bourgeois wish to bring the revolution to a conclusion as quickly as possible.. it is our interest and our task to make the revolution permanent, until all more or less possessing classes have been forced out of their position of dominance, and the proletariat has conquered state power.
For us the issue cannot be the alteration of private property but only its annihilation, not the smoothing over of class antagonisms but the abolition of classes, not the improvement of the existing society but the foundation of a new one..
Marx, like Rand seeks a transcendent, heroic solution - for a political philosophy that now seems alien to anyone who considers opening a book by Ayn Rand.

Ironically, Rand seems to fit Marx's description of the "democratic petty bourgeois" above. As Christian Michel, previously quoted, continues:

"What is obvious from reading The Romantic Manifesto is that Rand’s artistic culture, her knowledge of painting, sculpture, and literature seems limited to what she read as a teenager at the Smolny Institute, the elite school for girls she attended in tsarist St Petersburg.

Eventually, she emigrated to to US. That was in 1926. One year earlier, F. Scott Fitzgerald publicized a personalized portrait of the rise of fascism: The Great Gatsby. A decade earlier, Ezra Pound had published Lustra. Although there is great beauty in it's lines: "...he who can know a first sight, cast out, despised" one can almost sense a Strangelovian premonition if one thinks about Rand, Gatsby, and Pound's conversion to Fascism.

As I write this at a public computer in Santa Cruz, where Ayn Rand is not in fashion at the moment, celebration continues in Washington D.C. One of the speakers at the Ayn Rand Centennial Conference Program was Robert Poole, who helped ensure the privatization of Caltrans. His presentation is concluding as I type this at noon PST. The New York Times lays open in front of me: Edward Rothstein is "Considering the Last Romantic, Ayn Rand, at 100", but the weather has become too beautiful here for any further consideration on my part.

Happy Birthday Ayn!

David Roknich
Editor

DOGSPOT

 
 


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Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Ayn Rand was an elitist apologist for the rich parasites who live off the labor of the rest of us. Her book "Atlas Shrugged" portrays a world gone to hell as soon as the rich abandon the rest of us and telling us how to live . It makes the statement that the workers cant live without the rich —when the exact opposite is true.

Who would fix their cars, plumbing, build their houses, landscape their mansions etc. These weaklings would die out in one week without their human head of slaves growing their food and wiping their lazy asses.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

so you agree with me that she...
seems to fit Marx's description of the "democratic petty bourgeois" -;)
no?
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Have you read Atlas Shrugged? It doesn't sound like you have.

In AS, it is not "the rich abandoning the worker". It is about hard-working innovators, men and women, who have become wealthy by virtue of the creative talents and drive of themselves and their ancestors, GOING ON STRIKE against an unholy coalition of tag-along rich and parasitic poor who seek through force of government violence to continually steal, sap, and suck the life out of that which these innovators produce.

You would understand this, if you didn't demonize wealth and worship poverty like some kind of rabid Franciscan zealout, or fear and despise technology like a classic Luddite.

AS makes the statement that the world cannot live without the innovators, the inventors, and builders of industry and the creators of progress. That these people share the CIRCUMSTANCE of wealth with some lazy, thieving wealthy parasites was incidental.

It speaks volumes, that you lump the two opposing groups together and missed the entire point of the book. But given the fervor of your blind faith that anyone with wealth has not earned it and only exploited the little people, I am not surprised at your failure.

To anyone reading this - go down to the Santa Cruz public library, check out Atlas Shrugged, and read it for yourself. It's a long story, but Rand's style makes for quick reading.

There is a reason why her work is regarded as a classic of the 20th century. Like Orwell's 1984, it is a very timely warning.

Or don't, and be satisfied with your ignorance.

After all, who IS John Galt?
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

It's everyone for themselves. Isn't that why atlas shrugs instead of holding everything up?

I think we can differentiate true innovators from those who innovate ways to make themselves and their friends (sic) money.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Life is a beautiful thing. The natural world is resplendent with ancient wisdom.

Even a mother bird displays a kind of simple, passionate performance art in guarding her young. She loves them so much, even to the point of visciously dive-bombing the random house cat that may stalk below the tree.

And one day, mother bird - the Atlas of the nest of her children - pushes those children out. She cannot support them forever in some socialist utopia. It would kill her to try, and in fact kill the entire species.

So she forces them to learn one of life's greatest lessons, a lesson that lies at the heart of the entire wonderful circle of life. The lesson of self sufficiency.

In doing so, she sacrifices the weaker of her children to the biosphere. She strengthens the species this way. Nature thrives this way. Strong and beautiful creatures are produced this way.

Imagine having children.

Imagine them growing up.

Imagine them still living at home at age 30, without jobs. Eating all the food you can afford to buy. Draining your last penny on medical care. Working you into an early grave to support them.

Now imagine them having their own children, still living there. Imagine them teaching their children to live as they have lived - off of you.

Sooner or later, every Atlas shrugs. To do otherwise, brings only poverty, misery, and death.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

2nd to last paragraph had some nonsense that's not in the version on my site - must have been clipping from the first draft. It's been cleaned.
Thanks for not noticing.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

"Who would fix their cars, plumbing, build their houses, landscape their mansions etc. These weaklings would die out in one week without their human head of slaves growing their food and wiping their lazy asses."

Who would pay you to fix those cars? Mechanics do not live on commision. They get regular hourly wages from an employer who either built or bought that shop for tens, hundreds, or thousands of dollars.

How would you afford to build your shop, buy all your tools, and send employees to training programs? You'd go begging for a loan from a bank or the Small Business Association. i.e. from the rich.

Who would build those cars? You? By hand? Out of wood?

It takes the rich to build a multi-billion-dollar automated facility to build a safe, light-weight, fuel-efficient car so cheaply that you can afford one.

Who would buy all the materials and then pay you a wage for 2 years to build that mansion with all the landscaping and plumbing needs? Your working-class neighbor who makes $12/hr?

Who would hire you and your manual labor friends to work that farm, buy the water, buy the heavy machinery, buy the seed and the fertilizer, and hire the trucks to ship it all to market all around the country to make the most money to pay your wages and keep the farm from shrinking into a rinkydink little grandma's veggie garden? Your neighbor Joe?

You'd starve in a week without the rich to give you a job. You spit on us, but you're first in line for the paycheck from our accounts. You ingrateful SOB.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Utopia Overrated wrote:
Who would build those cars? You? By hand? Out of wood? It takes the rich to build a multi-billion-dollar automated facility to build a safe, light-weight, fuel-efficient car so cheaply that you can afford one.
"Who would buy all the materials and then pay you a wage for 2 years to build that mansion with all the landscaping and plumbing needs? Your working-class neighbor who makes $12/hr? Who would hire you and your manual labor friends to work that farm, buy the water, buy the heavy machinery, buy the seed and the fertilizer, and hire the trucks to ship it all to market all around the country to make the most money to pay your wages and keep the farm from shrinking into a rinkydink little grandma's veggie garden? Your neighbor Joe?"

Thanks alot RICH, for exploiting the earth and addicting us to the money system in whch the poor must work or starve, after you stole the land of hunter gatherers and wiped them out with your corporate Christian psychosis.

"Thanks" for freeways, smog, munitions, desertification, toxic genetically engineered seed, idiotic heavy machinery, deforestation, factory farms and all the other BULLSHIT you created.

As for "grandmas rinkydink veggie garden" industrial agriculture created by the RICH will soon use up drinking water and eradicate topsoil.

Granny and her garden will be here long after all you rich parasites have turned into compost, the only thing you all are good forl

Also, "thanks" for industrial waste, depleted uranium and the hideous Coast Hotel you are ramming down our throats. We need the rich like we need AIDS.
The rich are AIDS.



When the earth runs out of animals and trees you can eat your money.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

"addicting us to the money system"? What a crock. You choose every day to use it. Better to earn hard cash than grow some tomatos and spend half your time bartering because your mechanic, dentist, tailor, and dairyman don't want or need tomatos.

Take some responsibility for your actions and your life. You choose how to live it, every day. If you don't like this society we've built, go live in the forest. Really. Go away, and go live in the forest. There are thousands of miles squared of state and national park land still left. Especially outside of over-populated California.

We offer you something so good you can't see ever giving it up, and then you blame us for making you an "addict"? We provide a necessity, and this makes us evil?

It is you who would never survive on your own, because you do not appreciate what you have nor who provides it, nor will you accept responsibility for and take charge of your life.

Kindly stop taking my money and showing up for work, if it offends you so. Incidentally, I do not make freeways. I sell art glass. Oooh, am I depleting the world's supply of sand?

RR
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

I agree that the will is the most important factor in human development. I guess this makes me a philosophical idealist as opposed to a materialist. This was an important distinction to Marx. However when it comes to society, the social contract and agreements, I find Ayn Rand, Objectivism( as I understand it) and by extension Libertarianism lacking.....lacking compassion and an understanding that everybody isn't ready to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and that society as a whole is affected, indeed pulled down by the presence of a large underclass. I have yet to hear an effective solution to the homelessness and systemic poverty we face in this country today from this camp, this school of thought.

RS at the SCPL.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

"I have yet to hear an effective solution to the homelessness and systemic poverty we face in this country today from this camp, this school of thought."

Radical Objectivism does not seek to solve the problems of homelessness and systemic poverty, just as it does not seek to cure cancer. You still don't understand the philosophy.

RO is an acceptance that each and every individual is responsible for improving his or her own state. They may not be the cause, but ultimately their life remains their own responsibility and no one else's.

RO accepts that shit happens, and life is not fair. RO allows for, but does not require, charity towards, nor investment in, these unfortunate souls.

RO is an echo of one of the ancient codes of the samurai. It is said that the true warrior never despairs, but accepts his situation as being what it is and acts from that center.

RO is the enshrinement of the individual's right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by protecting it from usurpation by those who would achieve or sustain their own rights at the expense of yours.

Parents are responsible for their children, but men and women are not generally responsible for one another, and no one should ever be robbed or enslaved to feed or satisfy another.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Granny and her garden will be here long after all you rich parasites have turned into compost, the only thing you all are good for

Granny is currently tending her garden in third world shitholes around the world. In many cases, if she doesn't, she starves. She and her grandchildren are often surrounded by their own feces, and often die from the filthy water they wind up drinking is contaminated by her neighbors' excrement.

If you dislike the culture that puts running water in your tap, takes care of your crap with the flick of your wrist, provides all the food you could ever eat in a market minutes away, and gives your the opportunity to have thousands of people listen to you bitch about it, Granny's lifestyle is readily available to you.

Don't let us filthy capitalists keep you from your proper earthly place.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Capitalism continues to consume the earth because most of the world's men forbid most of the worlds women to have abortions or even to use birth control.

The word "capitalism" and "capital" comes from the word "capita" or "a head of cattle" which were the first money. Calves and children are the "interest' yielded by the forced breeding of cattle and women.

Men caused mass overpopulation which is whi Granny and millions of other work slaves must live in filth and earn less than one dollar a day because rich psychopaths run the world with the help of tens of millions of surplus poor men who love to dress alike and kill helpless civilians to protect the wealth of the wealthy .

Woman are these mens factory farms, forced to mass produce millions of consumer/worker/breeder/soldier units to keep the male owned global economy endlessly expanding like cancer.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

a rather extreme way of putting it, A.W. but you don't have to examine too closely the drive toward serfdom that the Bush administration has been pushing: every action of theirs as been calculated to prevent any change of "economic development" in the 3rd world (their terminology, they own the language) How? By running policy the way J. Paul Bremmer has in Iraq - to use the money allocated to accomplish exactly the opposite of what has been publicly "fetted": the so-called insurrection in Iraq is exactly the type of self-defeating creation I mean - and one that is designed to bust out the US economical, drive the middle class into serfdom and reduce the poor to chattle.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

roknich wrote in the previous post:

"the so-called insurrection in Iraq is exactly the type of self-defeating creation I mean - and one that is designed to bust out the US economical, drive the middle class into serfdom and reduce the poor to **chattle**"

roknich, you are more correct than you may know! We all can learn a lot from the dictionary!

In Webster's New International Dictonary (2nd edition) the original meaning of "chattle" was:

1.property, specifically goods or money, or **livestock**
2. a **human slave or bondsman**

The word "cattle" is from the MIddle English
**"chatel" (meaning "goods"- and the french word "caput (which means "head" as in head of cattle (see my other post above the one you wrote)

"Cattle" also means:
2b Human beings -a term of contompt

I became a vegan because like raped women and women who are forced to give birth against their will, farmed animals also bred against their will in factory farms.

The oppressons of capitlaism, and the abuse and exploitation of the poor, women, and animals are all abuses of power based on "might makes right" and the cosmic CA CA of the "divine right of kings" (also known as Social Darwinism)

Social Darwinism is now a form of "unnatural selection" that causes massive numbers of poor to be born who are used as consumer/worker/breeder/units by the rich.

The children of the rich dont starve, die on the battlefields or dir from pollution in the inner cities.

As any biologist knows, there must be ten times as many prey animals as predators. Hence, the anti choice politics and religions of the Rich!
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

AW, you are so far over the edge I dont know what to say. Fundamentalist Christian conservatives believe the world is overrun with evil muslim radicals just waiting to "get them". You believe it's overrun with evil capitalists just waiting to rape you every 9 months to produce more cattle.

You're paranoid to the point of delusional, and you clearly lack any real life experience in the spooky outside world of non-USA.

But if this little bubble of persecuted hatred in which you live makes your reasonably comfortable American life work for you day to day, who am I to stop you.

Nevermind that you continue daily to work in, buy from, and sell to the same capitalism which you decry as the root of all evil. I suggest that you sweep your own doorstep, before criticizing others. You are part of your own problem, and change begins at home.

RR
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

There are certainly different ways of looking at oppression, but the Social Darwinsits of Ayn Rand's ilk choose to either ignore the oppressed or even view them with contempt because of their weakness.

This would be like getting mad at a quadripelegic for not going to work. She can't get to work without an apparatus, which requires *help from other people.* YOU (R.R) needed help once, too. Although you completely separate yourself from the reality that you were once utterly helpless and (most likely) completely dependent on a woman's breast for sustenance, somehow how that dependence doesn't count or isn't related to other's people's needs in your mind.

The sort of "pull yourself up from your own bootstraps" mentality you advocate is not natural to our species, despite your insinuating that it is "natural" for a bird to shove her young out the nest, etc. (Are we birds??) Humans are social animals who need others in order to survive. Archeologists have found extremely old remains of elderly people who appeared to have been in good physical condition, yet were toothless. The obvious question is, "how did they survive?" The answer is that others in the human group *looked after them,* even to the point of grinding or chewing up food for them.

Social Darwinism is *not* a legitimate theory (unlike Scientific Darwinism, which is completely unrelated) and should have vanished with the Horatio Algiers novels that accompanied its formal inception. Unfornately, the culture of selfishness and cruelty seems to morph into other forms of the same ol' B.S.

Just because you've lost your idealism, don't try to sell it to the rest of us as "Radical Objectivism."
 

More On Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Social Darwinism is a descriptive term given to a kind of social theory that draws an association between Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, and the sociological relations of humanity. Critics of such theories argue that by asserting that societies develop and therefore operate by "natural" laws, the real aim of "Social Darwinism" theories is to rationalize and thereby legitimize the unequal and disproportionate divisions between and within societies. Critics may make note that Darwin's own work never contained the logical and naturalistic fallacies of assuming that the existence of natural processes meant that that they could "naturally" be extended from biological systems to social systems. In essence, it justifies the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer by incorrectly applying Darwin's theory of 'survival of the fittest'.


"Social Darwinism" is most associated with the writings of Herbert Spencer, although researchers such as David Weinstein have argued that Spencer was not a "coarse Social Darwinist."[1] In Progress: Its Law and Cause (1857) Spencer wrote:

"this law of organic progress is the law of all progress. Whether it be in the development of the Earth, in the development of Life upon its surface, the development of Society, of Government, ..., this same evolution of the simple into the complex, through a process of continuous differentiation, holds throughout."



Spencer's work also served to renew interest in the work of Malthus, who is also cited as a Social Darwinist author. Malthus's 1798 work An Essay on the Principle of Population, for example, argued that as increasing population would normally outgrow its food supply, this would result in the starvation of the weakest. Some historians have suggested that the Malthusian catastrophe theory and similar concepts were used by the British to justify the continued export of agricultural produce from Ireland, even as the Irish were suffering from famine, in particular the Great Famine of 1845-1849.


Social Darwinism enjoyed widespread popularity in some European circles, particularly among ruling elites during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period the global recession of the 1870s encouraged a view of the world which saw societies or nations in competition with one another for survival in a hostile world. This attitude encouraged increasing militarization and the division of the world into colonial spheres of influence. The interpretation of social Darwinism of the time emphasized competition between species and races rather than cooperation. In the time since then, evolutionary theory has de-emphasized inter-species competition as well as the importance of violent confrontation in general, which discredits many of the social Darwinist theories of that time.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Of all I'm reading here, the anti-Rands are making sense and the pro-Rands are gibbering like brain-scrubbed fanatics. Whatever Rand's philosophy pretends to be, its true nature is obvious: an excuse for exploitation within a system already riddled with it and a sweet-talking of the pathological dominance-submission mentality. The pro-Rands realize this, whether or not they say it out loud. Ayn Rand's pseudo-philosophy makes selfishness at others' expense a virtue, and it's tailor-made for subverting the limbic systems of the right-wing power-grubbers and money-grubbers who are now running our once-promising country. If Rand's philosophy is so rationally based, why does it breed so many ranting fanatics for its cause?

(no personals, if you please. I can read the feedback on the site)
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

Is in the pudding.

While communists, socialists, and other thieves just talk trash, the Randians are busy building the world around you, creating your jobs, bringing in the money to pay you, building and maintaining your Internet, and even supporting your welfare parasites just to keep your police off our back so that we can continue creating and building.

The web isn't reality. Reality is out there in the real world, where you make little contribution, have little influence, and have no power.

So enjoy your trash talking here in your little Internet forum world. I hope you enjoy it.
 

Re: Ayn Rand Turns Over Another Digit

To "the proof" re: communists, socialists, (etc)

All you're giving us is irrational ideological rant. I repeat my question in my earlier posting: If Rand's philosophy is so rationally based, why does it breed so many ranting fanatics for its cause?

How do you KNOW that communists and socialists are all thieves and that they "talk trash"? What do you call "trash"?

"The Randians are busy building the world around you, (etcetc)"

Are they? Can you name names and specifics? Are you implying that all who "build the word around us" are automatically card-carrying Randians and that everything they do is automatically good? And if you're so noble and high-minded, why do you sound like some rightwing stump ranter?

Are all welfare recipients "parasites"? ALL of them?

"supporting your welfare parasites just to keep your police off our back"

That's how the world works, "the proof"?

"so that we can continue creating and building."

And what exactly are you doing to make the world a better place, "the proof"?

"The web isn't reality. Reality is out there in the real world"

We're all aware of those simple facts and don't need to be reminded of the obvious. By the way, why are you commenting here if it's so unreal for you?

"where you make little contribution, have little influence, and have no power."

So, "the proof," you do contribute something substantial, have considerable influence, and lots of power?

"So enjoy your trash talking here in your little Internet forum world."

I thought Internet forums were open to everyone. It's not "my" world. What's "trash talking" depends on the judger and viewpoint.

"I hope you enjoy it."

I hope you enjoy ranting, "the proof." By the way, do you take yourself seriously?

(no personals. I can read the feedback on the site)
 

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